Pride: Petal school district summer food program - WDAM-TV 7-News, Weather, Sports-Hattiesburg, MS

Pride: Petal school district summer food program

PETAL, MS (WDAM) -

An apple a day doesn't necessarily keep the teacher away. School is out, but good food is in at the Petal School District.

The summer food service program is under way, and the district is doing it's best to feed every child they can for free through out the week.

"There getting the five component meal, just like they would do at school lunch," said Petal School District Food Administrator, Danny Dillistone.

Dillistone, says the district's summer food service program makes sure the kids who receive free meals during the year receive both breakfast and lunch beyond the last day of school.

"There is a big gap in the summer time where those kids aren't getting healthy nutritious meals, so we're kinda filling that gap," said Dillistone.

But they aren't leaving any kids out.

"Any child 18 years old and younger can come in and benefit from the program at no cost to the child," said Dillistone.

And the program is expanding.

"Last year I expanded it to also incorporate July, and then I said how can we grow it even bigger, let's try a supper program,  and see if it actually jumps off," said Dillistone.

Dillistone says supper at Petal's Upper Elementary school means more kids and more food.

"We are doing quite well, we are having about 125 kids come through a night right now on average,"said Dillistone.

Dillistone added hundreds of kids can come in one day just for lunch, so making anything less than a wholesome meal from scratch is not an option.  

"We do pizzas. Everybody goes,' Pizza? Why are ya'll doing pizza?' Well, it's 51 percent whole wheat crust, it's low fat mozzarella cheese. A lot of the things that you call fast foodie type things are actually more healthy for the kids now-a-days than they ever were," said Dillistone.

Dillistone says feeding these kids gives parents a break, maybe even helping them stretch their dollars, but he says there are some kids who are in real need.

"They wouldn't have supper probably if we weren't offering, they might not have lunch if we weren't offering it, so it really makes me feel good about this program,"said Dillistone.

The program will end August third. Until then kids, from anywhere not just petal, can come eat free at Petal Middle School: 7:30 until 8:30 for breakfast, 11 until 12:45 for lunch, and dinner from 4:30 until 6:15 at Petal Upper Elementary.

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